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American Literature
Realism and Naturalism
(1850-1914 [1900])

“
True religion is real living; living with all one's soul,...
Historical Context
• Population of the United States is growing rapidly.
(1865 -1915)
• Science, industry and transportati...
Literary Movements
• The writing of this period steered away
from the Romantic, highly imaginative
fiction from the early ...
Realism
•

•

literary movement that developed
towards the end of the Civil War
and stressed the actual (reality) as
oppos...
Why did this literary movement
come about?
• A reaction against Romanticism
– rejected heroic, adventurous, or unfamiliar
...
Realism - Characteristics
• objective writing about ordinary characters in
ordinary situations; “real life”
• Character is...
Realism - Characteristics
• Class is important; the novel has
traditionally served the interests and
aspirations of an ins...
Romance and Realism: Taste and
Class
Romance
• Aspired to the ideal
• Thought to be more
genteel since it did
not show the...
How did this
literary movement prevail?
literary movement prevail?
• The Industrial Revolution
– economic, social, and pol...
Naturalism
• Naturalism is NOT “hippie-fiction.”
• It is more pessimistic than Realism,
primarily.
• The Naturalist writer...
Naturalism
•
•

Literary movement that was an
extension of Realism
Depicted real people in real situations
like realism, b...
Naturalism - Characteristics
• characters:
– usually ill-educated or lower-class
– lives governed by the forces of heredit...
Naturalism - Characteristics
• Themes
– Survival (man against nature, man against
himself)
– Determinism (nature as an ind...
“Literature of Discontent”
• Along the lines of Naturalism, the social
problems of this period were seen as a
force to dea...
Regionalism
• Regionalism is all about “local flavor” or
“local color.”
• “Local Color” means a reliance on minor
details ...
Author Bios

Stephen Crane

Ambrose Bierce

Mark Twain
Jack London
Kate Chopin

Bret Harte

π
Some Writers from Realism
• Stephen Crane
– The Red Badge of Courage

• Willa Cather
– O Pioneers!
– My Antonia

• Bret Ha...
The Culture of the Time:
Slavery
• Slavery was a reality throughout America
since it was founded, despite the hot
debate as to whether or not we sh...
The Civil War
• A nation divided
• Interrupts Transcendentalism
• Walt Whitman
– Transition writer: late Transcendental po...
The American Civil War

AKA

“The War Between the States”
“The Nefarious War of Northern
Aggression”
“The Scuffle of South...
Other Ideologies
•
•
•
•
•

God
Government
Education
Man’s Purpose in Life
American Dream (moves us into
modernism)
• Evid...
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
Realism introduction
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Realism introduction

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Realism introduction

  1. 1. American Literature Realism and Naturalism (1850-1914 [1900]) “ True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, w -Albert Einstein “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow -Abraham Lincoln
  2. 2. Historical Context • Population of the United States is growing rapidly. (1865 -1915) • Science, industry and transportation are expanding. • Literature also was growing, but most new writers were not Romantics or Transcendentalists. They are Realists. • The “Frontier” did not exist as before; its legacy changed and impacted Realists in its new form. • The aftermath of the Civil War meant that Americans were less certain and optimistic about the future. • The idealism of the Romantics and philosophy of 2 Transcendentalists seemed out of date and irrelevant to many readers.
  3. 3. Literary Movements • The writing of this period steered away from the Romantic, highly imaginative fiction from the early 1800’s. • The four main movements are known as: – Realism – Naturalism – “Literature of Discontent” – Regionalism π
  4. 4. Realism • • literary movement that developed towards the end of the Civil War and stressed the actual (reality) as opposed to the imagined or fanciful. Remember transcendentalism and how it dealt with spirituality...
  5. 5. Why did this literary movement come about? • A reaction against Romanticism – rejected heroic, adventurous, or unfamiliar subjects • The harsh reality of frontier life and the Civil War shattered the nation’s idealism
  6. 6. Realism - Characteristics • objective writing about ordinary characters in ordinary situations; “real life” • Character is more important than action and plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject. • Characters appear in their real complexity of temperament and motive; they are in reasonable relation to nature, to each other, to their social class, to their own past.
  7. 7. Realism - Characteristics • Class is important; the novel has traditionally served the interests and aspirations of an insurgent middle class. • Diction is natural vernacular, not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact.
  8. 8. Romance and Realism: Taste and Class Romance • Aspired to the ideal • Thought to be more genteel since it did not show the vulgar details of life Realism • Thought to be more democratic • Critics stressed the potential for vulgarity and its emphasis on the commonplace • Potential “poison” for the pure of mind
  9. 9. How did this literary movement prevail? literary movement prevail? • The Industrial Revolution – economic, social, and political changes that took place in post-war life allowed American Realism to succeed. – Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (overlaps with modernism)
  10. 10. Naturalism • Naturalism is NOT “hippie-fiction.” • It is more pessimistic than Realism, primarily. • The Naturalist writers believed that larger forces were at work: Nature, Fate, and Heredity. • Their writing was inspired by hardships, whether it was war, the frontier, or urbanization.
  11. 11. Naturalism • • Literary movement that was an extension of Realism Depicted real people in real situations like realism, but believed that forces larger than the individual – nature, fate, heredity – shaped individual destiny
  12. 12. Naturalism - Characteristics • characters: – usually ill-educated or lower-class – lives governed by the forces of heredity, instinct, passion, or the environment – the criminal, the fallen, the down-and-out
  13. 13. Naturalism - Characteristics • Themes – Survival (man against nature, man against himself) – Determinism (nature as an indifferent force on the lives of human beings) – Violence
  14. 14. “Literature of Discontent” • Along the lines of Naturalism, the social problems of this period were seen as a force to deal with. • Many groups, from women to freed slaves, started expressing their discontent with the way things were. • They started addressing these issues in their writing.
  15. 15. Regionalism • Regionalism is all about “local flavor” or “local color.” • “Local Color” means a reliance on minor details and dialects. • They usually wrote about the South or the West. • More often than not, these stories were full of humor and small-town characters.
  16. 16. Author Bios Stephen Crane Ambrose Bierce Mark Twain Jack London Kate Chopin Bret Harte π
  17. 17. Some Writers from Realism • Stephen Crane – The Red Badge of Courage • Willa Cather – O Pioneers! – My Antonia • Bret Harte “Outcasts of Poker Flats” • Jack London – The Call of the Wild • Kate Chopin! – Story of an Hour • Mark Twain – Life on the Mississippi – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 24
  18. 18. The Culture of the Time:
  19. 19. Slavery • Slavery was a reality throughout America since it was founded, despite the hot debate as to whether or not we should have slaves. • The issue hinged on two different Americas: The Urban, Industrial North and the Agrarian South. π
  20. 20. The Civil War • A nation divided • Interrupts Transcendentalism • Walt Whitman – Transition writer: late Transcendental poet, early Realist – Leaves of Grass – “O Captain, My Captain” 27
  21. 21. The American Civil War AKA “The War Between the States” “The Nefarious War of Northern Aggression” “The Scuffle of Southern Secession” π
  22. 22. Other Ideologies • • • • • God Government Education Man’s Purpose in Life American Dream (moves us into modernism) • Evidence of Influence 30

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